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Directed by Brett Leonard
Running time 96 minutes
Every so often a film comes around that you just don’t know what to make of. Brett Leonard’s Feed, may be one such film. On the one hand it’s a stylishly made, albeit low budget, serial killer movie based around a bizarre sexual fetish rarely seen in cinema and on the other it’s a repugnant piece of trash that is transparently designed to shock and offend, always going for the cheap option. Both of these interpretations can be sustained although I tend to lean towards the latter. If the film had had the backing of a major studio I’m sure it would have caused controversy galore.
It’s quite startling to see Gabby Millgate in the role of the submissive victim. Clad in a huge prosthetic fat suit and being willingly force fed through tubes; her performance is a million miles from her comic turns in Muriel’s Wedding and the television show Full Frontal. The lead role of cyber-crime officer Jackson by Patrick Thompson falls flat but Alex O’Loughlin is adequate as the sick feeder, Michael Carter, although he is given better material to work with. It is also strange to see Aussie screen legend Jack Thompson ‘slumming it’ in this kind of film. Its only when you look back at his career in such wonderfully grotesque films as Paul Verhoeven’s Flesh and Blood that you realise he is not so out of place here And, funnily enough, he is also the father of Patrick Thompson. So who said nepotism was dead in the Australian film industry?
The film’s set up is intriguing; the disturbing world’s of feeders and gainers is one rarely explored and the use of websites as an investigative tool draws in the audience, no matter how repellent the subject. Unfortunately the police are so unlikeable that you don’t really care if they catch their prey and the villain so sickening that you aren’t even fascinated by him, unlike, for example, Kevin Spacey’s John Doe in Se7en; a film that director Leonard has obviously been watching.
In reality, despite some interesting moments the film never rises above the level of cheap trash. And the only moment when the film works on this level is when Deirdre pleads not to be saved by the police as she is there on her own accord. The fractured psyche of Jackson’s is paralleled with Carter’s enforced feeding frenzy’s using some of the clumsiest editing I’ve ever seen and some of the music used over these scenes is terribly inappropriate. Feed just falters on too many levels and is a wasted opportunity to make a genuinely disturbing exploration into the darkest depths of human sexual depravity.